Creamy, delicious, indulgent, Southern Mashed Potatoes are exactly what you’ll get with this recipe.
They scoop onto a plate and make that perfect thick buttery base for gravy -if you have it and want it. They’re so good, you’ll come back for seconds -unless you also added my Cornbread Sausage Stuffing onto your plate.
Southern Style Mashed Potatoes
Are these homemade mashed potatoes indulgent? Sure. It’s the holidays! Nearly all of us indulge in something at this time of the year. For many, this time of the year means eating more sweets than normal; but for me, it means allowing myself to eat a plate -or two- of these deliciously creamy Southern Mashed Potatoes.
Most of the recipes on my websites are quite crunchy and very colorful, nearly two requirements for the foods I eat regularly. However, special occasions like Thanksgiving and the holidays call for exceptional recipes – and if they can be made ahead of time, even better!
The ingredients you need to make these homemade mashed potatoes have two things in common: simplicity and goodness!
Here’s the list:
- Onion: a flavorful base of flavor to the recipe. You can also use onion powder, about ½ teaspoon.
- Garlic cloves: what would mashed potatoes be without that hint of garlic flavor? Use fresh or 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder.
- Potatoes: Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes work best for this recipe.
- Butter: makes these mashed potatoes super creamy and tasty. Reduce the salt in half if using salted butter.
- Cream cheese: enhances the creaminess factor!
- Half & half: adds more softness and velvet texture! Warm it up before using it in the recipe, or use whole milk instead.
- Salt: just a little to enhance all the flavors.
- Fresh chives: finely chopped for serving.
The ingredient amounts and more details are in the recipe card below.
I remember YEARS ago, while 8 months pregnant with my third child, being in front of the stove “testing” these mashed potatoes. My husband still talks about “that one time I ate half the pot of mashed potatoes before Thanksgiving” -what can I say, I have my weaknesses. For some it’s chocolate, for me, it’s creamy mashed potatoes.
I have these on my Thanksgiving menu every year, one bite, and you’ll know why.
How to Make Creamy Southern Mashed Potatoes
If you can cook potatoes in a pot and sauté onions, you can make these spectacular Southern mashed potatoes! It’s so delicious that no one will believe it’s so easy to make.
Check it out yourself:
- Cook the potatoes
Wash, peel, and cut potatoes into similar-sized pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a slow boil, add potatoes, add salt, and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes for 25-30 minutes (will vary by size) until soft enough for a fork to slide through and easily break through the potato.
- Sauté the aromatics
Meanwhile, on a large pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds, until it softens and is fragrant. Add the onions, and cook until soft and translucent, for about 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Mash the potatoes
Drain the potatoes in a large colander. Once drained, transfer them back into the large pot. Over low heat, begin mashing the potatoes. Add the sautéed onions and garlic and continue mashing, allowing the steam to escape.
- Make it creamy!
Turn off the heat and add butter, cream cheese, ½ cup of warmed half and half, and salt. Add a little more half and half if necessary, and mix until the cream cheese has melted. Transfer hot potatoes to an oven-proof serving dish to keep them warm in the oven (at 200F or lowest bake setting) if not serving them immediately. Garnish with chives right before serving.
What are the Best Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes?
While you can mash any potato variety; Russet and Yukon Gold Potatoes are the best options for a thick and velvety texture since they are higher in starch and will yield a smoother, creamier, and softer texture.
Russet potatoes are fluffy and soft, with a mild taste that absorbs the other ingredients’ flavors. Yukon Gold Potatoes have a rich and creamy texture with an irresistible buttery taste, making them another great choice to mash.
Tips for the BEST Mashed Potatoes
With these simple tips, you will be able to make the best mashed potatoes every single time:
After mashing the potatoes with onions and garlic, add the butter, and once it’s combined, add the cream cheese and half and half. By adding the fat first, the potatoes will remain firm.
Pour liquid slowly
Don’t drown the potatoes. For the best consistency, pour half and half slowly to help the potatoes to absorb the liquid.
Cut potatoes large
This way, water will have less chance of going through the potatoes and diluting their flavor.
Make it tastier
While warming half and half, you can add your favorite aromatics for more flavor. Once it’s warm, strain it, so the herbs don’t change the mashed potatoes texture.
Can You Make Mashed Potatoes Ahead of Time?
You can save time by washing, peeling, and cutting the potatoes ahead of time. Once you do this, soak them in a bowl with water and refrigerate for up to a day. This will help to prevent the potatoes from browning.
The smaller the potatoes, the less they will last soaked in water without breaking apart, so consider cutting them into large pieces.
Want to make mashed potatoes beforehand and store them? Go ahead! They hold well in the fridge for two days. Take it out about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Then, all you have to do is reheat them in the oven at 350F for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.
How to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm
If you made a delicious batch of mashed potatoes but aren’t ready to serve them, put them in an oven-safe 9×13 baking dish, cover them with foil, and keep them warm in the oven at 200F or your lowest bake setting.
When the rest of your meal is ready, transfer the potatoes from the baking dish onto your serving dish (or not) and garnish them with freshly chopped chives.
How to Store Leftover Mashed Potatoes
Should you have leftovers, once cooled, transfer the mashed potatoes into an airtight container or zip bag and keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can also use leftovers to make these delicious loaded mashed potato cups and give them a totally new vibe!
How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes
These southern mashed potatoes can taste as good as the day you made them with the reheating tips below.
In the microwave: use a microwave-safe dish with a lid on and provide a small vent in a corner for the air to escape. Reheat the potatoes on high, in 60-second intervals, stirring them so they reheat evenly.
In the oven: this is a great method if you have a lot of leftovers. Depending on how much you have to warm up, I recommend adding a little liquid, such as milk, stirring it into the mashed potato mixture, and reheating them in the oven at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes, covered with foil.
These mashed potatoes will disappear from the table, but if there are leftovers, I recommend adding a little liquid and reheating them in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.
Southern Mashed Potatoes
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- 5 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes
- ¾ cups butter
- 8- ounce package cream cheese , softened
- ½-3/4 cup half & half, warmed prior to using in recipe
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Fresh chives, finely chopped for serving
- Wash, peel, and cut potatoes into similar sized pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a slow boil, add potatoes, add salt, and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes for 25-30 minutes (will vary by size), until they are soft enough for a fork to slide through and easily break through the potato.
- Meanwhile, on a large pan over medium high heat, heat up oil. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds, until it begins to soften and is fragrant. Add the onions, and cook until soft and translucent, for about 7 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Drain the potatoes in a large colander. Once drained, transfer them back into the large pot. Over low heat, begin mashing the potatoes, add the sautéed onions and garlic and continue mashing allowing the steam to escape.
- Turn off heat and add butter, cream cheese, ½ cup of warmed half and half, and salt. Add additional half and half if necessary and mix through until the cream cheese has melted. Transfer hot potatoes to an oven proof serving dish and keep them in the oven if not using up immediately. Garnish with chives.
- When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.